For more postcards you can subscribe via Weekend Notes, or follow on Instagram or Facebook to receive regular updates
Published October 5th 2014
Experience a bygone era
Step back in time to a bygone area. Back to a time when the village main street comprised the barber shop, blacksmith and Inn and the highlight of the social week was going to church on Sunday. Where kids played with hoola hoops & marbles in the street and the only traffic was the horse & cart. Welcome to Australiana Pioneer Village.
Located in Wilberforce, on the Hawkesbury River, Australiana Pioneer Village is a collection of shops & dwellings that have been moved from their original sites around the Hawkesbury District and brought here in order to preserve the past. Rose Cottage is the original dwelling on this land and still sits on its original site. Having been built in 1811 from split Ironbark Timber, it is recognised as the oldest timber dwelling in Australia.
The other buildings in the village date from the 1850's through to the early 1900's.
For school kids learning about early Australian history this would be a fantastic school excursion or family day trip. Walking down the main street and going in to the buildings really gives you sense of what village life would have been like back then.
There is a free guided tour of the village at 10.30am which I would definitely recommend. The tour takes you through some of the cottages and explains the living conditions of the day and the uses of some of the objects in the dwellings and shops. There are plenty of activities happening throughout the day such as: horse & carriage rides, blacksmith demonstrations, whip cracking, woodcraft & shearing demonstrations. Kids can play games from the olden days in the main street or have their photo taken in period costume. You can also have a lesson in the school house and see a washing & ironing demonstration.
Kids will enjoy going on a Treasure Hunt by purchasing a map for $1 from the Bee Cottage. (Tip: Buy the Treasure Map at the start of your day so the kids can look for the clues as you walk around - if you leave it until the end you will find you have to do a lot of back tracking).
For lunch or refreshments there are a few options: Damper Camp sells devonshire teas, fresh rolls, Ploughmans Platters & milkshakes. There is also the Oxboro Inn which serves lunches, snacks and refreshments. We had some delicious scones and a fresh bread roll at Damper Camp and our milkshakes came with top ups (another example of a bygone era). There is also the BYO option for a picnic lunch in the grounds.
The village has hosted a number of TV commercials and shows such as The Milky Bar kid television ads and the bushranger drama Wild Boys. The village can also be hired for corporate days, photo shoots, weddings and other functions.
Reopened since 2011, the Village is now run entirely by volunteers (you can spot them in their period costumes) who do an amazing job. The Village is open every Sunday from 10am - 4pm. The takings from the modest entry fees ($15 for a family of 4) is put right back in to the upkeep of the village. It is great to see such a wonderful example of community spirit in keeping our early heritage alive. Step back in time and spend a day at Australiana Pioneer Village.
We are interested in taking the kids to the Pioneer Village at Wilderforce. Is it still open and days it is opened during the school holidays? Please Weekendnotes write an updated article about it. Thanks
I can remember as a little girl standing on the veranda of one of these buildings and looking in to the slab hut filled with old furniture and antiques. I was fascinated and it started my love of Australian history and all things 'old'. Australian Village is a wonderful place and a great family destination, not to mentioned that it must the cheapest family outing I have seen in a long time. Well done to the volunteers, there has been something missing since Old Sydney Town closed many years ago and this fills that void.